It was 1964 and my 12-year-old self waited in line to see the new documentary by Jacques Cousteau, World without Sun. I was enthralled. Men living on the sea floor – aquanauts. Cooler still was the ‘diving saucer’ which looked like an underwater space vehicle. I loved everything about the film and read up on their work and research. Even at that age I was besotted with everything to do with the ocean, and work of Cousteau on his ship the Calypso added fuel to the fire. I want to explore the sea when I grow up!
A few years later, a new TV series was launched, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Looking back at it now, the series was silly, but I loved it at the time. I wanted to be a member of the crew of a submarine like the Seaview in the show.
Taking a riff from Cousteau, the series had a cool ‘diving saucer’ like vehicle called the flying sub – because it could not only dive underwater, it also could fly above the clouds.
Great idea, but… the more I investigated this cool piece of equipment, the more I wondered how it would actually work. The version in the show did not ring true as workable technology.
Fast forward fifty years as I began crafting the story of Pelagia. I still pondered how you could actually build an amphibious aircraft like Seaview’s flying sub. It felt within our reach technologically. So, after some research, I developed plans for an amphibious craft named Kestrel, which would be used for to police the Pelagic territories.
In Pelagia, Kestrel has been built at Marcelli Deep, using 3-D printing. The craft is designed with three propellers – each of which can swivel around three axes, making it very agile in flight. Like it’s raptor namesake, it can also hover in the air as a stable platform, like a helicopter.
For armaments Kestrel has rail guns, with supercavitating projectiles, and lasers when in air. it is also equipped with two types of camouflage: passive, which allows it to blend in with surroundings, and active, which makes it effectively invisible.
In the story Kestrel is kind of a character, not because it has a personality, but because the audience can build an emotional connection with it – like Millennial Falcon in Star Wars or USS Enterprise in Star Trek.
Of course, the most important thing to me about Kestrel is that I would like to own a prototype.